D&D SESSION 29

We’re back from our honeymoon and the first thing we wanted to do was jump back into D&D. It’s been a long time, and it’s going to be a crazy time. Without further delay, here’s what happened this session:

SESSION 29

Players:

  • Ciaran (LVL18) and Basile (LVL20)
  • Lorn (LVL20)
  • Marven (LVL20)
  • Rhaegar (LVL 20)
  • Alkaid (LVL 20)
  • Dwayne (LVL 20)

Dwayne saunters up to the group and asks how everything is going, while Marven goes to The Lair to meet with Regis. Dwayne casts Major Illusion on Regis to make him look like a halfling again, but since he’s still a half orc he just looks down and sees the top of his head. Marven asks Regis to take a group of talented individuals to raid dungeons and find a gelatinous cube to chop into tiny bits to sell as jello shots.

Lorn gets Ciaran to help him with a task, and when they shake hands, neither of them remember what they were doing. What they don’t recall is having Ciaran hide Lorn’s phylactery somewhere in the world.

Alkaid and Dwayne visit Xi-Long to purchase Deathward armor and a True Resurrection Scroll so Dwayne can become the true Rock Gnome he once was. Dwayne then asks Basile if he can read the scroll to bring him back to life since he plans on dying that day. Once Basile checks to make sure Dwayne isn’t suicidal (unlike how he’s feeling) he agrees to ensure he comes back to life. Dwayne then goes to the Temple of Ioun to donate baklava. Judah eats a bite of baklava.

While in town, Can Tankerous shouts out ‘contingent” as a small army approaches. They are carrying flags picturing a golden field with a rose. Rhaegar recognizes it’s House Tyrell, and they come requesting for audience with Neebs and Associates ft. Dwayne the Rock Gnome Johnson. Loris are invited to Rhaegar’s, and Dwayne starts cooking for the guests. Marven eats most of the food. Loris explains that the High King is looking for assistance. The Commonwealth is being invaded by Dwayne’s homeland.

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LIFE: Honeymoon

We just flew back into Detroit from our honeymoon in LA and San Diego, and I am (thankfully) so tired that I think I’ll be able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. However, I wanted to take a moment to share some details from the honeymoon – lots of photos can be found on my instagram. However, I’ll be sure to share photos of the honeymoon here once I get the chance to go through the 3,000+ pictures I took.

Tuesday: We flew in from Detroit to Los Angeles around 4:30PM, and after a very anxious day of traveling I was feeling very sick. Our plans to walk the Walk of Fame and see the Hollywood sign was thrown out the window so we could find our motel, get dinner, and rest. I was unable to eat any food and couldn’t sleep thanks to my anxiety, but eventually was able to rest after Eddie walked to the nearby Walgreens to buy saltine crackers.

Wednesday: Woke up still sick and unable to eat, but I drank a lot of water and Powerade to avoid dehydration. We went to The Melt for some mac and cheese, but I wasn’t able to eat much. I didn’t want my not feeling well ruin our trip, so we adjusted our schedule to visit La Brea Tar Pits instead of going to Universal Studios like we originally planned. Everyone was confused why we’d want to go there, but we had a good time checking out the fossils and exploring the excavation sites. It was cool how they were still actively working to dig up bones. The best part of the day was when I was craving watermelon and happened to see a man selling fresh fruit on the corner of the street. It was just what I needed to get some food in me and some much needed water. I still felt sick to my stomach but it was manageable with my anxiety.

Thursday: Although I was still feeling under the weather thanks to jet lag, we headed off to Universal Studios! Of course, we were most excited for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but was it awesome to see some of the other themed parks like Jurassic Park and Simpsons. Eddie rode some of the rides, while I sat in the shade and tried to stay cool. I almost passed out while walking due to the heat, but I was able to sit and drink some water. Some highlights of our visit: buying our wands (Eddie has Sirius Black’s and I have Remus Lupin’s – he has the same length, wood, and core as my wand from Pottermore), meeting with Blue (velociraptors have always been my favorite), and the different shows that they put on. Our favorite was Waterworld, and I would highly recommend seeing it if you’re ever in the park. What an amazing half hour of stuns, explosions, and water sports. Late that night, we met up with two of my oldest internet friends: Heather and Juliet. We met up at Denny’s, where I was able to eat some buttered noodles and feel much better. It was great to finally meet them and catch up after so many years. Thankfully, they approved of Eddie and were okay with my vanishing from the internet after meeting him.

Friday: After checking out of our motel, we headed downtown to check out the Walk of Fame. While walking, we stumbled upon Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and I convinced Eddie to see it. I had been to one of the museums years ago in Niagara Falls, but he had never experienced it. We treated ourselves and headed inside, finding some of our favorite celebrities. Once we were done, we shared a strawberry gelato and headed to Warner Bros. Studios for the tour. The tour itself was great, but we were unfortunately unable to sit next to each other because the other groups took up the other spots. Honestly, it kind of dampened the mood a bit, but learning that LUCIFER IS BEING PICKED UP MY NETFLIX made our day much better – especially since we learned right as we were passing the studio where it was filmed. While on the tour, we saw some of the props and costumes for Harry Potter and the DC universe, the set for the Big Bang Theory, and were able to sit on the couch at Central Perk from Friends. When we were done, we drove the three our trip in LA traffic down to Escondido to check into out condo for the next week. What we didn’t realize was that our condo was at a high-class resort that we would never be able to afford on our own. Thank you, Colleen, for the generous wedding gift! It was a huge step up from our little motel in LA, and we celebrated with some delicious food at the fine dining restaurant at the resort at 9PM. It was the best baked potato and clam chowder I had ever eaten.

Saturday: After three days, my body’s clock was finally caught up and I was feeling much better. We met with Eddie’s grandparents, who were unable to come to travel for the wedding, and had breakfast with them at the resort. It was nice to meet the other side of Eddie’s family, and I felt like they approved of me. We wish we could have spent more time with them, but we had a very busy schedule. After breakfast, we headed to the San Diego Safari Park. Unfortunately, by the time we got there we didn’t have the whole day to explore, so we didn’t get a chance to visit every exhibit. However, we were there for one reason: the cheetah run. As a kid, I have had the chance to hold and feed baby tigers and lions, and it has been my dream to do the same for a cheetah. In fact, it’s higher on my bucket list than getting married. I knew going in that I wouldn’t be able to pet a cheetah – my favorite animal of all time. But having the opportunity to be up close and personal, just a few feet away, made me cry with joy. Eddie found it funny that I already knew everything that the zookeepers were explaining about the cheetah. It was definitely one of the best moments of our honeymoon. We ended the night with an easy dinner – a carry out pizza from Pizza Hut. We sat on the balcony and watched the sunset over the mountains, and enjoyed the perfect weather.

Sunday: Of course, we couldn’t forget about the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. After a late start for the day, we drove to Balboa Park and walked over to the zoo. This time, we had plenty of time to roam the entire park and see every animal they had to offer. We saw many of the standard creatures such as lion, tigers, and bears. However, we saw a special bear that we had never seen in person before. Pandas! Apparently, they are only in four zoos within the United States and we were lucky enough to see one. Thankfully, I was able to charge my camera battery while we ate lunch, which allowed me to continue taking pictures until we made it back to the resort. For dinner that night, we decided to hit up In-n-Out. We don’t have this in Michigan, so we felt that we had to give it a shot. The wait was long, but the food was worth it! The fries were pretty good, and the burger tasted like a restaurant burger and not fast food. It wasn’t the best food I’ve ever had; I think I still prefer Burger King, but my loyalty runs deep.

Monday: Today was a terrifying and special day for me. First, Eddie and I went snorkeling – something I was low-key afraid of doing. I had no desire to swim in the ocean, let alone try to snorkel or scuba. There could be sharks, jellyfish, or stingrays and I wasn’t in the mood to die. However, Eddie assured me I would be okay as we crammed into our wetsuits and tried to find a place to park at La Jola Cove. That didn’t end up working out, as everyone and their mother were at the beach at 2PM on a Monday. Instead, we parked down the road by the beach and just went up to about our waist in the water. I can now say I’ve been in the ocean, and now I never have to do it again. After “snorkeling,” we headed into downtown San Diego to eat at Kansas City Barbeque – the very same diner where the sleazy scene in Top Gun was filmed. I only knew that because they had signs all over the place. While there, we met with my long-time friend who I’ve never had the chance to meet in person since she lives in Tijuana. After nearly eight years of friendship, we finally met! It was so nice to see her and to catch up. As we ate our pulled pork sandwiches and fried pickles, we planned for her trip to Michigan.

Tuesday: We still had another big amusement park to attend: Sea World. The last time I had been to Sea World, it was still in Ohio and I was just a kid. Eddie had never been able to attend, and while there is a lot of controversy around the park, we wanted to take a moment to experience it. We had a great time watching all of the live shows, and I cried during the dolphin show because they were having so much fun. The orca performance was also amazing, and while we didn’t sit in the splash zone (I had to worry about my camera) we still felt a bit of the spray coming at us. However, our favorite show was probably the sea lion performances where they spoofed various TV shows like Survivor and Dancing with the Stars. At night, they also put on an “adult” show where they made fun of the other attractions at the park. They particularly enjoyed roasting the dolphin performers for their over-the-top positivity. We had the option to stay until sunset to watch the glow in the dark performances, which were only going to be performed through August. However, after spending an entire day at the park, sitting around and killing two hours wasn’t exactly a part of our plans. So, we decided to head back to the resort to relax. For dinner, we just ate whatever leftovers we had and went to bed.

Wednesday: With only a few days left in our honeymoon, we knew that we had to visit Balboa Park again after visiting briefly during our trip to the zoo. After having a lazy morning at the resort, we visited the Museum of Man and the exclusive Cannibals exhibit. We both love museums, and seeing one on anthropology was a nice change of pace from typical art and science museums. We were going to visit the Natural History Museum as well, but ran out of time. Instead, we decided to look up a good place to get burgers and ended up at Hodad’s. OH MY GOD, one of the BEST burgers and onion rings I’ve ever had! This small restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, and certainly was worth the trip. I had the mini burger and it ended up being the size of a normal hamburger. Eddie’s small had two patties, and we could only imagine what the larger sizes would be like. It was definitely our favorite place that we had eaten at during our entire trip, and it’s all thanks to the recommendation from one of Eddie’s coworkers!

Thursday: Our last day in San Diego was spent heading back to Balboa Park and hitting up the Natural History Museum, which we weren’t able to do the day before. We’re glad that we went back, as there were some amazing pieces inside. I particularly enjoyed the prehistoric exhibit on the first floor and the skulls on the third. Once we were done there, we went downtown to check out the USS Museum. My dad was in the army, and my grandpa and now father-in-law were in the navy for different wars. It was awesome to be on the retired naval ship and learn more about our history and about our family. I even bought a Vietnam Veteran hat for dad, which he really appreciated for father’s day. With that, we headed back to the resort and dressed up for a romantic dinner at Macaroni Grill. We had initially tried a local restaurant chain, but the wait was over an hour, and Macaroni Grill was a five minute wait. Obviously, our hunger overweighed the desire to eat California faves. At the end of the night, we packed all of our clothes and souvenirs and crashed.

Friday: While we were sad to be leaving California, both of us were were ready to get back home and rest. That morning we got up bright and early and headed to the San Diego airport to fly home. Thankfully, my anxiety wasn’t nearly as bad on the trip back, and I spent most of the flight reading or watching Law and Order SVU on my phone. Our layover in Chicago was also very easy, and our luggage didn’t get lost despite not having the appropriate ticket. The easiest part of the trip home was running into my father-in-law in the airport. He had also just gotten back from a trip and happened to walk right past our gate as we were getting off. We quickly followed him back to luggage claims and he drove us home.

REVIEW: Thirteen Rising

romina

While on the plane to our honeymoon, I took the time to do something that I haven’t done in a long time: read a book. Between work, wedding planning, D&D, and binge watching White Collar and Criminal Minds, there was simply no free time to get lost in some well written fiction.

So, I picked up Thirteen Rising off my bookshelf and let myself finish a saga I had started many years ago.

Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell is the last book in the Zodiac series, which follows Rho Grace – a Cancrian living in the Zodiac star system, after she sees a prophecy of destruction from Ophiuchus. Suddenly, her planet is attacked, and she is thrust into a position of power and expected to lead an army – all while dealing with her teenage romance. Without spoiling too much of the plot, I’d like to write up a brief review of what I thought as I concluded this epic interstellar dystopian novel.

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LIFE: We Got Hitched!

It finally happened! Eddie and I got married today, and we are both exhausted from a long day. There’s a lot to process, from the moment I woke up and got ready with my girls, to the first look at the park with Eddie, to our wedding vows, to the night of dancing.

While it wasn’t a perfect day (the groomsmen boutonnieres went missing, I forgot my veil at home, and the clasp on my dress broke since it was taken in too tightly), overall I think it was the best party and wedding we’ve ever been to. And I’m not saying that because it was my wedding, but because our vendors were phenomenal. The food and cake were amazing, and I’m sad I wasn’t able to eat more (I also forgot to take some home for later.) As soon as the formal dances were finished, the dance floor was never empty as our DJ played the perfect songs. The photo booth was a huge hit as well! While I wasn’t able to say hello to everyone in person, I felt like everyone had a good time.

Now Eddie and I lay in bed, eating leftover KFC and thankful to be out of our shoes. We have cards to read, gifts to open, and bags to pack for the honeymoon. But all of that can wait as we settle into our new life together.

Thank you to Mike Staff Productions, our lovely photographer and videographer, and Laura Smallridge, who provided our photobooth, for the lovely memories!

Wedding Video by Mike Staff Productions

STORY: The Body and Blood of Brothers

It’s been a while since I shared some writing. Here’s a piece of flash fiction that I had published in Oakland University’s Swallow the Moon 2015. Enjoy!

 

 

The wooden pews of St. Valerie were filled. Not a single seat was empty, which was a pleasant sight to see in a small suburban church. Sitting in the front row between proud parents was Zack. He was the same age as me, and we went to the same Elementary School. He rode on my bus, but we never sat near each other. I also went to Catechism with him on Mondays. Most of the time, he dressed like all the other boys. Today, he wasn’t wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. Instead, he was dressed up really fancy, like me. 

He was wearing all black. His shoes were polished, and his suit was new: freshly ironed, crisp, and free from any dust. His hair was slicked back with gel and was as dark as his clothes. It reminded me of my half-brother, Eric, because that’s the only thing I really remembered about him, other than the fact that he and Dad both played guitar and liked music a lot.

The only thing that wasn’t black was his tie. It was pure white. It matched my dress, my Mary-Janes, and my veil. I looked like a bride, but I was far too young to be one. Seven year olds didn’t have to think about marriage or husbands.

However, this was a wedding of sorts. After all, I was about to marry myself to the church, to God, to Jesus. He gave his life for me, to save me from the sins I had yet to commit. Now it was my turn to give back.

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